Pubdate: Tue, 06 May 2014
Source: Journal Times, The (Racine, WI)
Copyright: 2014 The Journal Times
Author: Stephanie Jones


Deputy DA shares story of her cousin's heroin death

RACINE - Deputy Racine County District Attorney Tricia Hanson is used
to talking about the dangerous effects of heroin.

As a prosecutor with the county, she is fully aware of the
consequences of abusing the drug, and of resources available to help
with addiction.

But, "it wasn't enough to save my own cousin," Hanson said Monday at a
heroin summit Monday at Gilmore Middle School, 2330 Northwestern Ave.,
which was organized by the Racine County Sheriff's Office.

Her cousin Nick died of a heroin overdose in March.

His was one of four deaths from heroin so far this year, according to
Racine County Medical Examiner Michael Payne.

The goals of the summit were to help the community understand the
growing problem, how it affects everyone, how to recognize warning
signs and how to get help, Racine County Sheriff Chris Schmaling said.

For Hanson's cousin, his struggles started in high school with
marijuana, she said. "For Nick - who had an addictive personality -
the marijuana was too much," she said. He made it through high school
but he struggled, she said.

He eventually got a reliable job, got married and, Hanson said, "We
were so hopeful. This is it. She is going to be the turning point ...
he is going to put all this nonsense behind."

But he ended up getting in a car accident and started taking a lot of
prescription medication, which eventually led to heroin.

His wife came home to find him passed out and the baby crying in the
crib, she said. His addiction led to stealing; he ended up in police
custody and ultimately it cost him his life, she said in her emotional

"There is nothing like this epidemic of heroin," Hanson said. "There
is nothing that has had the impact heroin has."

This problem is not just an urban issue, or a rural issue, Racine
County Executive Jim Ladwig said. It doesn't just affect the poor or
the rich, he said.

"This is everyone's problem," he said to the audience of about 80.
With thousands of kids between ages 12 and 18 in eastern Racine
County, he said he was disappointed there weren't more people there.

"Everyone says it's not going to affect me and my family," Ladwig
said. "That may be the case, but it may."

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Warning signs of a heroin addiction

* Small pupils if using; large pupils if going through

* Needle marks and small bruises on arms

* Sweating, vomiting, twitching, loss of appetite

Resources for individuals and families seeking help

* Racine Crisis hotline: 262-638-6741

* SAMHSA's national substance abuse treatment helpline:

Source: Dr. David Galbis-Reig the director of medical services for the 
inpatient mental health and addiction unit at Wheaton Franciscan-All 
Saints hospital, 3801 Spring St.

Additional heroin summits

May 6: 6-8 p.m. at Burlington High School, 400 McCanna Parkway,

May 15: 6-8 p.m. at Waterford High School, 100 Field Drive, Waterford.
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